HOW TO GIVE AN OLD CHAIR A NEW FRENCH LOOK

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Once a year  our garbage collectors pick up almost everything people leave by the side of the road.  There is a lot of good stuff available just for the taking.  Our neighbors put out this wreck of a chair.   It wasn’t until I got it home that I realized it was in terrible shape.

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Someone had started the job of reupholstering the chair.  The fabric and the padding had been removed.  All that was left was the foam seat.  It wasn’t a particularly well-made chair.  Instead of the usual  webbing it had cardboard.  This was not going to be  an easy job.  Was it worth the effort???

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It sat in the garage for three years. I had almost decided to put it out in the yearly pickup.  I couldn’t see the sense in spending a huge amount of time and money on this rambling wreck.

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My solution was simple.  I painted every part of the chair with gray water base primer – cardboard and wood.  Two coats.    Then I added a little water to thin out ordinary flat white wall paint.   I used this diluted paint as a glaze.

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I brushed this white glaze over the gray paint.  I put lots of white into carvings,  and used a damp cloth to rub away some of the glaze on the rest of the wood.  This entire procedure took just a couple of hours.  When the glaze was dry I rubbed clear wax over the wood and polished it.   Finished!

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I covered the existing foam with heavy cotton twill.

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I tacked the fabric in place with upholstery tacks.    I had seen this “unfinished upholstery” look in several of my French magazines.

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The seat finished I glued padding to the back of the chair and covered it with light weight cotton.  Then carefully tacked the finishing fabric over this.

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My French beauty finished!!

The final  touch is the kidney pillow I made using Paris graphics from THE GRAPHIC FAIRY.  Oooh La La.  And to think I was going to throw this chair away.

ABOUT ANGELS AND THE PUTTI (cherub) WHO ALMOST GOT AWAY

 

Meet the angels in my life.

I have a  love affair with angels and putti(cherubs).  Their faces  intrigue me.  Late one  Christmas Eve I was shopping for flowers on South Granville in Vancouver,  and discovered this putti .   White plaster waiting to morph into something wonderful.  I  painstakingly gold leafed her.  It was time-consuming work but I was so enchanted with her face it was a joy to bring out her beauty.

You can’t see this putti’s face but he has an adorable tummy and dimpled knees.  Another white plaster  cherub that I found in a thrift shop.  I painted and aged it until it looked like perhaps, just perhaps, I have found it in an old casa in Italy.

 

 

 

I found this putti with downcast eyes and a sad expression in a Thrift Shop.  She was a little battered so I gave her a face lift with a marble finish.

 

 

I plan to fill the urn these cherubs are holding with lavender.  Another white plaster object that I gave my “famous” French finish.

 

 

More faces, more tummies  and another of my antique, distressed paint creations

 

 

It was the week before Christmas.  Market day forty years ago  in a remote village in Mexico.  Beautiful Daughter and I were shopping.  She bargained for a tin lantern and I found these rustic angels.

 

 

This angel is  Matilda.  A gift from Titan haired daughter-in-law.  Her job is to guard my sewing room. She makes me smile.

 

 

An angel from Italy.  For years she graced the top of our Christmas Tree.  I couldn’t bear to continue to  hide her beauty in a box for eleven months of the year.  Now she guards my book.

 

As for the putti who almost got away …

 

This is Francis.    Francis was plain brown paper mache when I discovered him.     I created  several looks  for him.  The first year he was aFrench putti,  pale gray brushed with white.  The next year he took on a new persona and I gave him a marble finish.   The following year I thought something rustic, something to wreath with pine boughs. and holly, and a few white roses.   So Frances was painted an earthy ocher.   I hung Francis on my front door for several  Christmases.

Last Christmas I wanted a wreath lush with pink and scarlet roses,  and velvet ribbons.  There was no place for Francis.  Perhaps it was time he returned to the Thrift Shop, and a new adventure.

I was unloading him from the car to take him into the Shop when The Good Husband asked what I was doing.  I told him.    “No” says The Good Husband, “No angel EVER leaves our house”.  So dear friends that’s the story of Francis the putti that almost got away.   It’s also the story of  a man who is gentle, caring, loving, and who can always find room for one more putti.